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Avalanche Continues Road Trip in Pittsburgh

Colorado faces Pens in second stop of Eastern tour

by Miranda Einhorn / ColoradoAvalanche.com

In a rematch from Wednesday's game in Denver, the Colorado Avalanche (16-6-5) faces the Pittsburgh Penguins (10-10-5) for the second time in a week on Tuesday. The clash at PPG Paints Arena marks the final time the two teams will meet during the regular season.

Colorado holds a 20-8-6 all-time record against Pittsburgh (since 1995-96), which includes an 11-4-2 mark on the road. The Avs swept the Penguins (2-0-0) during the 2017-18 season series and have been victorious in four of the last five matchups against Pittsburgh.

Following the game, the Avalanche heads to Florida to battle the Panthers on Thursday. The four-game road trip ends in Tampa Bay over the weekend before the club heads back to Denver to face the Edmonton Oilers next Tuesday.

Last Time Out

On Sunday, Semyon Varlamov stopped all 24 shots he faced to earn a 2-0 shutout victory against the Detroit Red Wings. After a scoreless first period, Colorado struck on the power play as Nathan MacKinnon netted his 19th tally of the season. Fellow linemate Gabriel Landeskog found the back of an empty net late in the third frame to seal the victory for the Avalanche. Mikko Rantanen registered assists on both goals, and the Avs outshot Detroit 29-24.

The Penguins fell 4-2 to the Philadelphia Flyers at home on Saturday. Sidney Crosby and Riley Sheahan both notched goals for Pittsburgh, but it was not enough as four different Flyers forwards lit the lamp. The Penguins outshot Philadelphia 32-26 as goaltender Casey DeSmith made 22 saves.

Last Time They Met

Six different Avalanche players scored to lift the team to a 6-3 victory over Pittsburgh when the two squads met last Wednesday at Pepsi Center. Samuel Girard scored in the first period while Erik Johnson and Colin Wilson found the back of the net to give Colorado a 3-0 lead midway through the second frame. Those goals were matched by a natural hat trick from Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, but the Avs rallied in the third with three more markers. Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Carl Soderberg all lit the lamp late in the game to secure the victory for the Avalanche. It was the first four-point game of the season for MacKinnon (one goal, three assists), while linemates Landeskog (one goal, one assist) and Rantanen (two assists) registered multiple points in the outing as well. Netminder Philipp Grubauer made 22 saves as the Avs outshot the Penguins 26-25.

What To Watch

Avs Accomplishments

The Avalanche enters Tuesday's game with an 11-game point streak. The team has not lost in regulation since Nov. 9, and the 9-0-2 mark is Colorado's best stretch it has posted since a 12-game run (10-0-2) from Feb. 27 to Mar. 25, 2007. The Avs' point streak is also accompanied by a six-game win stretch on the road, the longest since Oct. 8 to Nov. 1, 2013. In addition, Mikko Rantanen is on an eight-game point streak after registering four goals and 12 assists since Nov. 18. Seven of the forward's eight games included multi-point performances, which brings his season total to 15 multi-point nights in 27 outings. With 45 points and 34 assists in the 2018-19 campaign, Rantanen is first in the league in both categories.

Against The East

The Avalanche holds a 9-2-2 record against the Eastern Conference so far this year. This is the second season series that the Avs will finish against an Eastern team after sweeping its set with the Philadelphia Flyers (2-0-0) on Oct. 6 and 22. Colorado will meet each team from the opposing conference twice this season. The Avs also have a league-leading 22 points after 16 road games this campaign (10-4-2).

Top Notch

Colorado's top line of Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog continues to perform with each member of the threesome registering points on both goals in Sunday's win at Detroit. Of the Avalanche's 99 total tallies this season, 16 have included all three members of the top trio. At least two forwards from the line have been involved in 46 markers to date and 56.6 percent of all Avalanche goals have received contributions from at least one player of the group. The teammates' combined 118 points (46 goals, 72 assists) in 27 games are the most of any trio in the league.

Players To Watch

Colorado: Defenseman Ian Cole

After beginning his career in St. Louis, Cole spent parts of four seasons with the Penguins before finding his way to Colorado. In 218 games with Pittsburgh, Cole racked up 59 points (nine goals, 50 assists) and 190 penalty minutes. The defenseman won two Stanley Cup championships with the Penguins (2015-16 and 2016-17), playing in 54 playoff games and registering 14 points (one goal, 13 assists). He has notched eight points (one goal, seven assists) in 27 games this season and leads the NHL with 79 blocked shots. This is the third game Cole has played against his former team since departing on Feb. 23, 2018, but it will be his first back in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh: Center Sidney Crosby

Sidney Crosby is on a four-game point streak, having notched seven points (five goals, two assists) since Nov. 24. The forward is first on the team in goals and second in scoring with 29 points (14 goals, 15 assists) after 22 games this season. Crosby has posted 10 multi-point performances this year and leads the team with a plus-8 rating (tied).

Lineup Notes

After missing four games with a lower-body injury, Tyson Barrie is expected to return to Colorado's lineup. The Avalanche has yet to announce a starting goaltender for the contest versus the Pens.

The Details

Tuesday's clash between the Avalanche and Penguins is slated for 5 p.m. MT. The game can be watched live locally on Altitude or streamed on select devices with the AltitudeNOW app (in market) or NHL.tv (out of market). The radio broadcast can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio FM 92.5 in the Denver area or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.

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